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Tallahasse Real Estate - Digital Nightmare

By Phil Butler | February 9, 2011

Exploring online for the best and worst real estate engagements, it is becoming clear we may grow weary of telling the bad news where digital professionals is concerned. Last week an excursion into Chicago's digital realm proved to be a battleground at least, but not exactly sparkling where agency excellence is concerned. Today we cover some mid size markets from Tallahassee, but later on Kalamazoo too.

Just to set the right tempo, perhaps we can set some readers straight as to our purpose and methodology here. Where critiques of broker sites is concerned, let it be known that positive reviews serve our network far better than negative ones. The purpose is to help agents and their potential customers - really. This leads to our other motivation - stopping the whining. Sure, websites and your Twitter accounts do not rival all the other tools at your disposal, but social media, blogs, video, comments, forums, and websites are channels never the less. I hope the reader can see, an integrated approach is what's needed. If not?

Looking for Osceola's Gold

The search for Osceola's real estate gold continues

Tallahassee - Osceola's Gold

Century 21 First Realty leads the pack of agents intent on reshaping Tallahassee's industry. At least this is true for certain Google queries. The twelve or thirteen thousand people a month who visit Joe Manausa's real estate site - well, they are not "wowed" by any means. But, despite the Web 1.0 look and function of this website, there are many advasnced and useful aspects too.

For one thing the company blog is superb for what it does. It is not exactly an award winning WordPress theme, but the info and knowledge exhibited there is very helpful. Joe Manausa is a fine writer actually, but then West Point graduates tend to be articulate. Back to the dark side of the digital force though, while Joe's site makes use of Facebook and Twitter a bit, nowhere is the so called "conversation" very prevalent. If it were not for Joe's articles on the blog being tweeted, not many would notice.

As a marketing or even branding tool then, Century 21 First Realty is pretty much useless. This is unfortunate, because the information there, and even the agents, appear to be top notch. Analysis? Digitally impaired.

Tallahassee real estate's number one

Tallahasse's top Google result for real estate

Ring the Rivers dot com? The short and sweet of Tallahassee's number two Google result is - forget about it. About 5 million websites went under during the dot com era better engaged than these guys. Horrible. Thank goodness only about 50 people a day are subjected to such careless mediocrity.

Yes, it's that bad. If Gene and Rebekah Rivers actually had a dream back in 1989, the online version of it never came to fruition. The reason I say "forget about it" is because this agency is not even online. And just what is so bad about that you say? If this is number two, what about number twenty? For the social media guru reading this; "Yes, this site is in the top 1o for real estate in Tallahassee."

Ring the Rivers Realty

The third ring of hell - Ring the River Realty online

Jacobs-Williamson Real Estate, AKA Tallyopenhouses dot com, as you would expect given the view above, is not a Silicon Valley, cutting edge, real estate startup. Tom & JoAnn Jacobs and Scott Williamson founded what is obviously a family oriented, down to Earth agency. For a brick and mortar real estate team, the crew looks like a wholesome lot to take care of your personal home buying needs.

That is, out in the corn field, or across the fence at the BBQ. But selling your home to an out of towner? The brass tacks here are, if it were not for the overall weak digital landscape Tallahassee exhibits, competition would exclude this team from selling anything online. The good news is, the site's listings are easy to search, and the media player shows decent images too. No Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, Netvibes, or even refined listing showcase - thankfully though - only 2 people a day get dumped here.

Listings page for Tallahassee agents

The listings page no one ever sees

Bill Lord's website sits beneath a bunch of cookie cutter national entries, and the aforementioned thoroughbreds, in what has to be the worst engaged market for real estate in the Universe (until we find another one worse, I will remember Tallahassee). I am not sure this site was cutting edge when they invented the abacus? But then Bill does not look like a Spring chicken either.

To be honest, I am not even sure what the proper name of Bill's agency is, that's how informative his online presence is. I assume it is Armor Realty Of Tallahassee, Inc., but there is some room for error. Bill has had someone pluck a Facebook and LinkedIn badges and links there, and a blog too! - no doubt Bill's commitment to informing the waiting Tallahassee buyers of the world demanded such. To be fair to Bill, not everyone can be an Internet guru - but my motto is "anything worth doing." The good news from Bill? If you want to take over the Tallahassee online real estate game, call me.

Bill Lord real estate pages

Sorry Bill, but I did not put this up you know?

Digital Corn-Clusion

Normally I would do five brief reviews in a piece like this, but I simply cannot go on. Besides, the other top positions on Google in this search belong to Trulia, Zillow, and the like. The human face is just not there. At least for Bill Lord up there, he has not come in last where traffic is concerned. Compete has his digital realm at about 455 peeps a month. Besides some small positives for Tallahassee real estate online, my view is "The gate is wide open for anyone to waltz in and take over." I am finding all of this so amazing. A whole profession blind to the possibility of the Internet. Below is the Compete graph for these agencies.

Phil Butler is a former engineer, contractor, and telecommunications professional who is editor of several influential online media outlets including part owner of Pamil Visions with wife Mihaela. Phil began his digital ramblings via several of the world’s most noted tech blogs, at the advent of blogging as a form of journalistic license. Phil is currently top interviewer, and journalist at Realty Biz News.
  • 6 comments on “Tallahasse Real Estate - Digital Nightmare”

      1. Hi Joe, I will do my best to offer up some help here. First of all, the "storefront" needs to be ready for the new grand opening. The rule is basic - don't sent people to a website "storefront" until it is ready. Imagine doing a massive social media campaign, SEO, and etc. to have half the people turn around and leave. There are so many things which go into the perfect web pages Joe. Let me suggest a couple.

        First off, your choice to go with WordPress was a wise one, and your site is not actually horrible compared with so many I am finding.

        The problems are a bit of aesthetic, a bit of navigation, and a lot to do with what is called the "F" pattern of user behavior and call to action. Put bluntly, your site is a bit confusing - the visitor, if not turned off by the brown and old look, will certainly leave because there is no clear call. Especially in the crucial sectors of the site like top right.

        The "desired" call is illustrated well if you look at this "Smooth" theme. You will note that, not only does this Worpress style adhere to a "minimalist" design principle, the "contact us" call to action is situated unobtrusively - yet predominantly where the user's eye naturally falls - top right, before venturing down the page. You want peeps to "contact you" - so say it without pissing them off about 3 times in a small space. Look at Smooth - at least three instances where a user might look for that all important contact point. Then there are the aesthetics - and what I call "Hollywood" aspect. Your site has Steinhatchee but no Hollywood Fla or California.

        Okay, so you are selling houses - besides your smile (perhaps) what do you want in the marque spot at the center of your website? The dream factor? Do you want the Apple iPad, or the Walmart rollback prices logo? The answer is; you want the prettiest, most Hollywood house in your listings, at the best price, always in the front. Rich peeps can get a deal, and poor peeps can dream a bit. Then they will do what is termed "drilling down" into your website. You are West Point, so I know the rationale here hits home - the longer they stay, the greater the chance you will (and need to) talk with them. Okay, we are off the track a bit Joe, but I wanted to galvanize the basics of successful design etc.

        Getting traffic to your site is fairly simple actually. The first step is SEO optimization - or honestly (no black hat stuff or Google will eventually hate you) doing what Google asks all sites to do so that their sites are indexed well and in the end higher in the rankings. There is a lot to this Joe, it is not so cheap either - but without good SEO all else is waisted. Secondly, whether you do it yourself or hire peeps to do it, marketing your business has to be done - just like in the brick and mortar world. With a bit of how to training, most agents can utilize their staff and associates to do a decent job of this. In my estimation, this is particularly true for Tallahassee - it is a poorly developed web market - a mouse could take over.

        PR, Marketing (including social media etc) and a bit of old fashioned advertising and you should be about the only flesh and blood real estate broker anyone on the web sees in Tallahassee (or Steinhatchee). Of course no one can predict how many conversion you will get from digital - but not doing the right things will surely lose the 1 or 100 who might use your services this year. Lastly, something called tri-messaging (PDF) is proving to be most effective for brand awareness and traffic - basically this is an integrated approach to marketing. By utilizing Twitter, Facebook, and your website's other channels together - a unified message is sent. Add in radio and traditional ads etc. and you have a very powerful media machine targeting your listings, your services, over those of other agents.

        I hope this was helpful Joe, I think this is the second most free advice on cutting edge engagement I ever gave out. 🙂 I seriously do want to help. In all transparency, our PR and consulting firm is in the top 150 in the world at doing all this glitter web engagement - but I do not strong sell us in preference to some other highly qualified peeps in our network. Let me know, or at least search for the most reputable company to help you go forward. Please beware a bit too, at least ask advice, I have seen far too many billions spent in the "flybynight" web design and hotcakes and sausage trenches - get capable people Joe. Depending how deep you want to travel into the "Digital Wonderland" of expert social engagement, you might also read my friend Brian Solis' book Engage - or at least a bit of his dogma. Brian is full of sheep dip sometimes but he is accepted as one of the gurus of this genre.

        Any way, a bit of research should afford you a lot. Investigate what I have suggested too Joe.

        All the best, Always,


      1. It's okay Joe, your professionalism shines through it - we know websites and all the social stuff take a back seat sometimes - we are here tho :O)


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